NASHVILLE, Tn. – in early 2021, Nashville received a U.S. Department of Transportation grant to install smart traffic technology in one of the busiest corridors in the city: Charlotte Avenue.
The funding, totaling $1.5 million, will be used to install the latest smart technology at this busy intersection, with the hope that this new tech will make commutes safer and less frustrating for the thousands of drivers who frequently pass through this intersection every day.
Nashville is one of 10 cities across the country to receive this funding and to be asked to test this new technology.
The new tech promises to deliver on two important points: buses will be able to detect accidents ahead of time and pedestrians will have more time and space to cross the street.
Notably, this tech is focused on alternative forms of travel, namely public transportation and foot traffic. The new smart tech may have an additional, indirect benefit of relieving traffic backups that are often centered around Charlotte Avenue.
The biggest physical changes that will be instantly noticeable to drivers and commuters are new sensors, new cameras, and modernized traffic lights. Though we’re not what modernized traffic lights will look like.
But the sensors will have an interesting feature that bus riders are going to like.
Adam Nicholson, board president of Transit Now Nashville, explains this new feature. “So, you’ve got a bus going along the corridor, and there’s a red light coming up. If the bus needs to keep up with its schedule, it could have a device on the bus that turns the light green,” he said.
And that’s just the beginning.
Eventually, the hope is that these modern traffic lights will actually communicate directly with cars, allowing traffic to flow smoothly based on need and not based on a preset light schedule and timer. Traffic lights will also be able to gather information about incoming traffic, bad weather, and any car accidents that may impede traffic.
Additionally, the new cameras will detect pedestrians in the crosswalk.
“For pedestrian safety, we have the delayed lights where the walk signal will turn and give you about four seconds until the light turns green for traffic. That gives the pedestrians a little head-start when they’re crossing the street and a car is taking a turn,” said Mike Reynard, director of Public Affairs for the FHA.
The project is estimated to be completed by 2023. Nashville is taking steps to take the city, and its residents, into the future.
For more information, visit the Nashville.gov website.